Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

December 22, 2013

Compliments of the Season

Wishing everyone a Merry Yuletide and a safe and happy holiday.

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It’s been a busy year with several highlights, including but not limited to:

  • Graham’s book in production for release in 2014;

  • Only Connect: tales of Technology and Us from Australia and the Indian subcontinent’ ,  which I co-edited with Meenakshi Bharat, due for release in 2014 – it has intrigue, suspense, romance and humour – stories from some of the best emerging and established authors on both continents;

  • Gondwanalandings at the Victorian State Library;

  • The UTS Postgraduate Conference; mindfulness-research-program-2013

  • Book launches and events – fabulous books were launched this year, some have appeared on this blog – including: Dancing to the Flute (Manisha Jolie Amin), After Love (Subhash Jaireth), Poetic Connections: Australia and India (ed Tamaso Lonsdale),  Letter to George Clooney (Debra Adelaide), A Country Too Far (Ed. Rosie Scott & Tom Keneally) and Susanne Gervay’s Gracie and Josh and  ‘I Am Jack’ translations; Meenakshi Bharat A House for Mr Biswas: Critical Perspectives;

  • Theatre events, including opening nights at ‘Rapture Blister Burn’ at The Ensemble and ‘The First Garden: Olive Pink’ at the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens; ‘Short & Sweet’ at Newtown and Nautanki Theatre.

  • The UTS Writers’ Alumni continuing to expand and our fabulous team at Writers Connect;

  • Interviewing authors, publishers and reviewers for my research. Many thanks to all who participated and contributed their views and valuable insights;

  • Catching up with friends when in Sydney—including Susanne Gervay, Wendy Ashton, Libby Sommer, Devaki Monani, Devika Brendon, Sunil Badami, Louise Porebski, Shashi Sharma, Manisha Amin, Roanna Gonsalves, (when she is in Sydney), Chris and Natasha Raja, Ali Atkinson-Philips (when they are in Sydney) and all at the South Asian-Australian Writers’ Network (SAAWN).

I’m now eagerly anticipating a Merry Yuletide with my family who I don’t see nearly often enough. After that I’m looking forward to the New Year with more book releases; conferences, cultural programmes and keynote series  (including Kerala & Delhi); and continuing my research at UTS.

Watch this blog for the call out for stories for the fourth Indo-Australian anthology sometime in 2014.

Cheers,

Sharon

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November 27, 2012

Dancing to the Flute

Dancing to the Flute

Manisha Jolie Amin

Allen & Unwin 2012

The power of music to reach people is never far from the surface of Dancing to the Flute. The brilliantly conceived structure parallels the stages of the Indian raga. The rhythm and pattern follow those of the raga as the narrative unfolds. The poetic language transforms the commonplace as the reader travels along with Kalu, the protagonist.

Dancing to the Flute has the magic and pathos of myth and enchantment, yet the human condition and the transformative quality of music are always at its centre. The yearning, the secret dreams and the shared bonds of those who are deeply connected by the ties that bind them are the catalyst for the metaphysical effects of Kalu’s flute. The world of Kalu and those with whom he comes in contact,  Vaid, Guruji, Bal, Ganga ba, Malti, Martin, Ashwin and others who inhabit the villages, is keenly wrought and ever evocative.

At all times, the reader is there at the centre of Kalu’s world, engaged by his quirky irrepressible nature, moved by his grief, captivated by his inquiring mind and gift for making music. As Kalu grows older and wiser, he discovers the incandescent and a higher purpose to this extraordinary gift. Just as Guruji discovers the true gift he has in his apprentice. As Kalu’s world expands, he learns that no matter how difficult life is, there is no going back – one can only go forward.

Just as the future appears Inevitable, however, the narrative twists and turns to another possibility.

Dancing to the Flute is an original and fine literary work, Amin is undoubtedly a skilled storyteller—there are stories within stories—and I found myself irresistibly drawn in and transported to Hastinapore, Guruji’s house and land on the way to Tanakpur, Ahmedabad and other villages of Gujurat, India and on to London.

Amin’s novel is right up there with the best I’ve read this year.

Manisha Jolie Amin

a raga is the projection of the artist’s inner spirit, a manifestation of his most profound sentiments and sensibilities brought forth through tones and melodies. The musician must breathe life into each raga as he unfolds and expands it … each note pulsates with life and the raga becomes vibrant and incandescent.” Ravi Shankar.

 Reviews:

UTS

Indian Herald

Good Reads

Book Coasters

April 14, 2012

Dancing to the Flute

Manisha Jolie Amin

Yet another UTS alumna has achieved success in the world of fiction. Allen & Unwin have just released  Dancing to the Flute, by Manisha Jolie Amin. It’s in the bookshops now. I’ve already ordered my copy from the Co-op Bookshop.

Abandoned as a young child, Kalu, a cheeky street kid, has against all odds carved out a life for himself in rural India. In the quiet village of Hastinapore, Kalu makes friends: Bal, the solitary buffalo boy, and Malti, a gentle servant girl, who, with her mistress, Ganga Ba, has watched out for Kalu from the first day.

 Perched high in the branches of a banyan tree, Kalu chooses a leaf, rolls it tightly and, doing what he’s done for as long as he can remember, blows through it. His pure simple notes dance through the air attracting a travelling healer whose interest will change Kalu’s life forever, setting him on a path he would never have dreamed possible, testing his self-belief and his friendships.

With all the energy and colour of India and its people, Dancing to the Flute is a magical, heart-warming story of this community’s joys and sorrows, the nature of friendship and the astonishing transformative powers of music.


Manisha Jolie Amin was born in Kenya and moved to Australia with her family when she was five. Sydney is her home, although she travels frequently to both India and England to visit family. Manisha lives with her husband, son and cat. When not writing, she works for a children’s welfare charity. In 2011 Manisha received a PhD from the University of Technology, Sydney. Dancing to the Flute is her first novel. More…

Manisha Jolie Amin Blog:

Dancing to the Flute … Description and Reviews

Buy from the Co-op Bookshop and receive your member discount.

Paperback – AUD $29.99 inc. GST

ISBN: 9781742378572
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN

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